Meet Michaella


Michaella1-

Michaella Walker,

another grown up Cowgirl,

who is passionate about the future of the horse.

 

Michaella has dedicated over 25 years of her life to working with people and their horses. Her extensive experience has included working among many natural horsemanship trainers, as well as the old time gaited horse trainers, which gives her unique skills. Those skills, as well as her attention to detail, can truly transform you and your horse.

What city girl doesn’t love horses? For every birthday Michaella begged her parents for a chance to ride. At 20 years of age, she decided to make her dream of owning her own horse a reality. She leased a 1000 acre ranch in Milpitas, California, and bought her first horse, a stock grade mare. In order to get the horse to her ranch, she and a friend rode the mare bareback with a halter and rope for reins across three ranches to her new home. Her first big trail ride! Soon after came a once in a lifetime opportunity… to move to Kobe, Japan, to model. While in Japan, she picked up the language, and became a DJ at a local radio station, F.M. Kyoto. She was also the first foreigner to perform as an actress on a Kabuki stage! She did continue to search out riding opportunities, and spent time riding on a horse ranch in Nagano, Japan. When her mother became ill, she moved from Japan back to the states, to Lady Lake, Florida. She decided to buy a farm there, and started her own horse string, which consisted of an Arabian, a five-gaited Saddlebred, and two young Paso Finos. She had never ridden a gaited horse before, and now she owned three of them!

Once settled at her new farm, she started searching for training methods to use on her gaited breeds. Many trainers in the USA, as well as Japan, helped her shape her methods. The Paso Fino trainers that originated from Puerto Rico and the Republic of Colombia were strong influences on her, as she recognized that their skills were ones that were tried and true, as they had been passed down from many generations. These trainers trained their horses not just as show horses, but also as real working horses, which meant they were used to transport their owners from ranch to ranch, and they had to be reliable mounts. The Paso trainers train even their show horses out on the trail, where they teach their horses to slow down and to learn speed control. This is where she gained the knowledge she has of bitless riding. During that time, she joined a Paso Fino Drill Team, Stardust, based at Fiddle Leaf Farms in Pedro, Fla. The drill team was an ambassador, disseminating awareness of the breed for the Paso Fino Association. With the drill team, she traveled all over the country, exhibiting in venues that included the great horse trainers such as John Lyons, Richard Shrake, Curt Pate (technical adviser for the 1998 Robert Redford film “The Horse Whisperer”), Chris Cox, Clinton Anderson, Don West, Martha Josey, Lynn Palm, and Ray Hunt. She continued to listen and learn from all these trainers at her close advantage point, and started to develop her special way of training, combining the secrets she had learned from the Paso trainers, and the natural horsemanship movement.

At that point in her life, she started buying young horses of different breeds to train for the trail, and held training clinics at her farm. In 2000, she met Chris Cox. Feeling that his training was what represented, to her, great horsemanship, it fueled her drive to start training people as well as their horses.From then on, she gained more notoriety, and began showing in reining and cutting throughout the Southeastern states, as well as Indiana and Michigan. Among her accomplishments were winning the Southeast Regional High Point in Pleasure and Western Pleasure on her own Paso Fino’s (a mare, and a stud), and also trained a reining horse to be a cutter and winning the 3000 Novice Horse Non-Pro on her.

While showing, she became intrigued with the Indiana Region, and made a move to live in Bedford, IN. Her interest gradually went from showing to really helping others with their horses.

She has no favorite breed, and enjoys teaching the path to bitless riding. She says bitted or non-bitted horses only do as well as the hands they are in, and she strives to make both horses and the hands that guide them soft and responsive. She really focuses her training from the ground up, and believes that while her methods and practices remain the same, the application varies from horse to horse. Her time-tested methods and communication skills have amazing results. Whether novice or seasoned, horses and their owners will graduate from her clinics with a good handle for performing in their chosen discipline.

She firmly believes that every horse can not only be a good horse, but a Great Horse, given the right guidance and training. Michaella found that her Horsemanship philosophy, built upon the ‘One Dot at a Time’ program for training is extremely effect not only on domesticated horses but with the Wild Mustangs as well. Her success at the Extreme Mustang Makeover was a beautiful delivery on what can be accomplished with her methods. She rode her Mustang, Nevada Star in the Perfectly Bitless Bridle through all the competitive classes, which served to be a plus in the Judges eyes. Now, Nevada Star has a great future ahead of him as a well seasoned trail horse and partner for his new owner. Eventually, her love of reining and cutting will take her back to the show ring. For now, seeing the people and their horses that she trains progress into effortless and effective communication is where her true happiness lies.Written by Kelly Ankney